What Is a Casino?


A casino, or gambling house, is a place where people gamble and play games of chance. Casinos earn their money by taking a percentage of bets or raking in a fee from each game played. This advantage can be tiny – less than two percent of all bets – but over time, it adds up.

Many casinos also feature restaurants, bars and entertainment. They are popular destinations for tourists and can be found around the world. In the United States, Las Vegas is one of the most famous casino towns.

Gambling has been popular throughout history. The precise origins are unclear, but primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice have been found in archaeological digs. Modern casinos grew out of the need to centralize the gambling activities of a region. The first centralized casino was the Monte Carlo, which opened in 1863. Other centralized casinos followed, including those at Atlantic City in New Jersey and Reno in Nevada.

Initially, casinos were heavily financed by organized crime, because of their seamy reputation. Mobster money brought a sense of glamour to the games and added to their popularity. In fact, mobsters often took sole or partial ownership of casinos and controlled the operation of many of the games.

Today, most casinos operate a physical security force and a specialized department for surveillance. The former patrols the casino floor and responds to calls for assistance or a report of suspicious activity. The latter operates the closed circuit television system that is known as the “eye in the sky.” Security departments work closely together to prevent crime and ensure the safety of guests.